Frequently, trust contests arise after the settler’s death when an omitted heir or unknown heir steps forward to claim their inheritance. Another example of a trust contest is after a parent passes away and the children learn that a caretaker of the parent unduly influenced the parent’s decision to leave all or a larger portion of the assets to the caretaker. The caretaker may be one of the children or an unrelated person such as a close friend or a medical professional such as a nurse.
Even if the trust contains a no-contest clause, the interested party still has the legal right to file a trust contest. The no-contest clause is generally used to discourage a named beneficiary from filing a trust contest. However, if the named beneficiary does file the claim, then they may have to give up all their bequests under the trust if they lose in trust contest action.
In order to determine if the trust is valid, it is recommended that you consult with a New York estate and trust litigation attorney, who can discuss the various grounds you may have to file a trust contest proceeding with the New York Surrogate’s Court. Although trust contests typically occur after the settler has passed away, a trust contest matter may be filed while the settler is living, if the trust is irrevocable.
Filing right away after the settler’s death is recommended before the trustee distributes all the assets to the beneficiaries named in the trust. It is up to the trustee of the trust to try and settle any challenges to the validity of the trust at the onset when any interested party making a challenge. The trustee will also hire a New York estate and trust litigation attorney to handle the legalities of the trust contest matter on behalf of the estate and to assist the trustee in settling the dispute.
Since New York trust contest matters are complicated and a lot is at stake, most people involved in a trust contest will hire a New York Trust litigation attorney to represent them. An attorney can review the trust document and the underlying circumstances to determine whether the trust is valid or not and advise you of your legal rights and obligations. If you wish to speak to a New York estate and trust attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.